Thursday, 1 December 2011

Broken Lines

Sallie Aprahamiam directs her debut feature, Broken Lines is an emotional journey of loyalty and love set against the multi-cultural diversity of London's growing suburbia.

The film is co-written by cast members Doraly Rosa and Dan Fredenburgh and is a romantic tragedy that accentuates the very best in contemporary British cinema and seeks to answer an ultimate truth: to whom do we owe loyalty and why?

After the sudden death of his father, a newly-engaged Jewish man, Jake (Dan Fredenburgh) plunges into a charged love affair with an attached young waitress B (Doraly Rosa). Both are searching for happiness and don’t want to give up on their life long dreams, but are trapped by their existing responsibilities to the lives they have already created.

Co-starring Paul Bettany and Olivia Williams - two fine actors who do not take the leading roles and instead take the supporting characters who are portraits of what the lead pair may become - the film is acted wonderfully most especially by Bettany who as Chester, B's boyfriend, plays the crippled ex-fighter with this mixture of charm and trauma.  Demasculinised by his paralysis, his behaviour has led to B willing to indulge in an affair.  Williams plays Jake's uptight fiancee, Zoe, who although cold does not play her totally inhuman.

Whilst it is noble of Bettany-Williams to give the film some notable cache by having their names above the title, their roles are peripheral and not central to that of Fredenburgh and Rosa, who although they wrote the screenplay, do give the impression that they do not totally know the characters they have created with Jake being too self-absorbed to get our sympathy and Zoe, not fully formed to warrant our resentment.  Also the semantics of calling Rosa's character B (as in plan B for his life) is a little bit sloppy and fails to give her a full identity apart from a letter.

Worryingly, this film was made in 2008 and received a screening at the London Film Festival the same year, before a limited release in 2011 and now this DVD release before the start of 2012.

Whilst Aprahamiam whose previous TV credits include Teachers and This Life, shows herself more than competent with her eye of London, thanks in part to the work of DP Jean-Louis Bompoint - the film is actually a work of 2008, there is a lot of colour and visual flair, which looks odd compared to a lot of London-based films of the post recession.  Compare this film with its bright moments to that of the duller pallete of Dexter Fletcher's Wild Bill, whereas that film wears its morbidity on its sleeve, in Broken Lines the darker content is all underneath.

Leaving the film as one which is flawed but nevertheless admirable thanks in part to the resounding success of Bettany's performance.

Broken Lines is released on DVD on Monday 5th December by Axiom Films

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